(HealthDay News) — Exercise does more than keep your body healthier. It also affects chemicals in your brain that help you think and focus.

The American Council on Exercise says:

  • Exercise improves alertness and focus, and helps you feel calmer.
  • Exercise promotes neuron growth, improving your brain’s ability to understand, process, retain and use information.
  • Exercise also improves your mood and helps you be more efficient, and may help you be more optimistic about your work.

The council says you should exercise before attempting an important task. But don’t work or study during exercise, as blood flow moves away from the brain, and it’s more difficult to learn.